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SFCM Welcomes Two Horn Players to Faculty

Mark Almond and Jessica Valeri are both members of the San Francisco Symphony and will start in the 2023-24 school year.

November 23, 2022 by Mark Taylor

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music is announcing the addition of two talented horn musicians to its teaching staff. Starting in Fall 2023, Jessica Valeri and Mark Almond will join the lauded faculty of SFCM. 

Both Almond and Valeri are current members of the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) and will bring years of invaluable experience to students, "I am thrilled to bring both of these amazing players and teachers onboard. Bringing on these two talented musicians further deepens our already fabulous relationship with the San Francisco Symphony,” said Dean and Chief Academic Officer Jonas Wright. Right now SFCM's faculty includes more than 30 current or former members of the San Francisco Symphony.

Jessica Valeri has been part of the SFS horn section since 2008. Prior to her appointment, she was a member of the St. Louis Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Grant Park Orchestra, and Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra. As a professional musician she hopes to inspire her students on all levels, “Aside from teaching important orchestral repertoire to students, I hope to broaden their experience as musicians and provide insight into all levels of music-making and the music industry,” she said. The horn musician has been teaching since 2014, and at SFCM is looking forward to, “building a studio, continuing to work with my excellent colleagues, and exploring new ideas and possibilities.” A native of Minnesota, Ms. Valeri holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Northwestern University.

Hailing from across the pond in Bolton, England, Mark Almond joined the SFS as Associate Principal Horn during the 2020–21 season. He joined the San Francisco Opera Orchestra as Co-Principal Horn in 2016 and before that held the position of 3rd Horn with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London. 

In addition to playing the horn, Almond is an experienced hospital physician and has a Ph.D. in immunology and virology from Imperial College, London. He is currently researching COVID-19 as a post-doctoral research scholar at UCSF. 

SFCM’s close-knit horn department is made up of fewer than ten students under close instruction of professors—members of the San Francisco Symphony, Opera, and Ballet orchestras. Horn students have opportunities to perform with resident ensembles such as the Conservatory Orchestra and chamber groups, with emphasis on both contemporary and classical music, and to enter a biennial brass concerto competition.

Learn more about studying horn at SFCM.